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Trick or Treat!

By Jodie Parus, RD, LD trick or treat

Halloween is the favorite holiday of America's youth and trick or treating and getting lots of candy is the most liked Halloween activity for approximately 75% of kids.  Americans will spend close to $2 billion on Halloween candy and according to the US Census Bureau, the average American eats 25 pounds of candy every year with a large portion of that eaten during Halloween time.

If your child eats 12 treats that is equal to about 30 packets of sugar. Of course you wouldn't give your child 30 sugar packs to eat, but limiting their candy intake on Halloween and the weeks following can get tricky, but the following tips may be helpful. 

First, do not buy Halloween candy early, wait until a day or two before the holiday. If you buy Halloween candy when it comes out in September or early in October you will have it around weeks before you need it and be tempted more than necessary.

Once the day arrives, plan for your family to eat a moderate sized healthy meal before going out to trick or treat. You may theorize that if you eat a full meal and are stuffed before you go out that will lead to eating less candy.  However, your kids and possibly even yourself will most likely eat just as much candy and end up overeating.  In this case, plan to have a little room for the candy you know will be eaten.

Limiting candy is a challenge and taking it away, throwing it away or giving it away may not be the best option. To the best of your ability, attempt to limit the amount they collect by giving them smaller buckets and decrease the number of homes visited.  Do not take it away or dump it, they will feel that they have to eat as much as they can as fast as they can. Discuss eating a couple of pieces at a time over the next few weeks.

When you return home the first thing you will want to do is inspect it for any opened packaging, this should be discarded. It is a also a great idea to have your kids go through and take out the candy that they do not like or will not eat, only keeping the favorites that they will truly enjoy. Finally, don't be tempted to clear the aisles of the after Halloween candy clearance; you are most likely stocked up. Happy Haunting!

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